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Simpson, Sir James Young, 1811-1870 (Professor of Midwifery, University of Edinburgh)



  • Existence: 1811 - 1870


The physician James Young Simpson was born on 7 June 1811 in Bathgate, West Lothian. He was educated locally and then at Edinburgh University, entering in 1825. In 1827 he began the study of medicine and graduated M.D. in 1832. By 1835 he was Senior President of the Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh and by 1839 he was appointed to the Chair of Midwifery. Simpson first worked with sulphuric ether as a form of anaesthetic in obstetric practice, but then in 1847 he and his assistants came to understand the efficacy of chloroform. A public trial was held at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary in November 1847. The same year he was appointed one of Her Majesty's Physician in Scotland and he became a foreign Associate of the Academy of Medicine, Paris. Apart from his contribution to anaesthesia, Simpson laid the foundation of gynaecology and contributed to obstetrics. In 1866 he was given a Baronetcy, the first to be received by a doctor practicing in Scotland. Professor Sir James Young Simpson died on 6 May 1870. His family declined a grave in Westminster Abbey - though there is a bust of him there - and he was buried at Edinburgh's Warriston Cemetery.

Found in 4 Collections and/or Records:

Autograph letter signed from James Simpson to Dr Barham, 3 January 1866

 Item — Box CLX-A-1591
Identifier: Coll-1848/22-0017
Scope and Contents Autograph letter signed from Sir James Young Simpson to Dr Barham, Edinburgh, 3 January 1866, on the subject of Dr Barham's antique tin marked with a symbol that Simpson is trying to decipher.In the letter, Simpson tells Barham that "Professor Stephens of Copenhagen is here at pressent, & has told us at the Antiquarian Society that your jug of tin ... has upon it this mark X which he reads as a rune in old English meaning ST which he believes to mean Stan or Stone - the name...
Dates: 3 January 1866

CD labelled ''In the Footsteps Of...James Young Simpson', Programme 7, Presenter: Ian Wilmut, BBC Radio Scotland', 13 November 2007

 Item — Box CLX-A-1529: Series Coll-1320/6, Box: data_value_missing_5e0089f1d089bc65a16a91247fb2d92f, Box: data_value_missing_a62adf5b879ca0bad54b8d5b116457f2
Identifier: Coll-1320/6/3/8
Scope and Contents From the Series:

Contains discs and tapes of recordings featuring Ian Wilmut, including radio and television programmes and educational videos.

Dates: 13 November 2007

Notes of midwifery lectures given by Sir James Young Simpson, taken down by George Dickson

Identifier: Coll-1955
Scope and Contents

Volume containing notes of lectures in 'midwifery and diseases of women' given by Sir James Young Simpson, taken down by George Dickson at the University of Edinburgh, 1862-1863.

Dates: 1862-1863

Robertson, Margaret Buchanan

Identifier: GD1-56
Scope and Contents

Extracts of letters of Margaret Buchanan Robertson relating to treatment by Professor James Young Simpson 1857-1859

Dates: 1857-1859

Additional filters:

Archival Object 2
Collection 2
Correspondence 2
Antiques 1
Medical care | Scotland | Edinburgh | 1
Midwifery 1
Midwifery | Scotland | Edinburgh | 1